The Case For Choice: The 2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT

The 2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT got me thinking. There's absolutely a market for small luxury crossovers. The UX is intended to fill that.

While a crossover is technically an SUV, the UX---especially in front wheel drive form---is happiest as an urban car (a failed attempt to drive out of a parking lot at Lake Tahoe while in the UX proved that point---the six inches of ground clearance can actually be stymied by the car ahead of you leaving too-deep ruts in not that much snow, there's insufficient weight over the front wheels to get traction, and none over the rears. Plus, the CVT couldn't hold a gear while trying to gently power out of the snow and ice. We ended up needing a push from a couple of Good Samaritans).

The engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower. It's mated to a ten-speed direct-shift continuously variable transmission. Sixty miles an hour from a standing start is an eight-and-a-half second proposition. The EPA fuel-economy average is 29 city/37 highway.

As uninspiring as all that sounds, the low center of gravity and quick steering response does make the UX enjoyable to drive.

The accommodations are another bright spot. There's room for five people (ideally four)and their things. Fold down the rear seat and it's two people and a lot of their things. The materials and fit and finish are top-notch for the price and size class.

The base price of the 2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT is $34,900. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are a six-speaker premium sound system, on-board WiFi, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires and a seven-inch color multimedia display.

Our tester also had extra-cost options including $75 for a wireless phone charger, $2,390 for the F SPORT Luxury Package (moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, power rear door with kick sensor, auto-folding outer mirrors with memory and driver seat memory), $500 for a head-up display, $2,200 for navigation which includes an upgraded eight-speaker audio system and an auto-dimming interior mirror, $565 for intuitive parking assist and $595 for the Ultrasonic Blue Mica paint. With $1,025 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT is $42,250.

My advice? Buy a UX---but step up to the UX 250h Hybrid. It solves the UX 200's limitations. You get 12 more horsepower, all--wheel drive and a massive improvement in fuel economy---41 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway. All for a $2,200 increase in base price.

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